Comedy, 112 Minutes, 2014
This movie is so tongue-in-cheek introspective it hurts. Fourth-wall breaks, self-commentary and an almost supernatural self-awareness account for a huge percentage of the humor. This is a sequel, and it reminds you of that loudly, blatantly and often.
This makes recommending it simple: if that sounds good to you, you’re going to love it. If that sounds trite and self-indulgent, you’re going to hate it. Personally, I laughed my ass off. I really enjoyed the first one (see my review) and this is a lot more of the same.
Jonah Hill [IMDB] and Channing Tatum [IMDB] reprise their roles, of course, and continue to have genuinely impressive on-screen chemistry. As the movie reminds you again and again, nothing’s really changed because all that will work is to “do the same thing again.” Instead of looking for a drug kingpin in high school, they’re now looking for a drug kingpin in college.
All of the standard targets are struck repeatedly. Frats and sororities, football, hazing, spring break and coed things. There are montages. The guys drift apart in a pronounced second-act slump, but come together like you knew they would before the end. It really is essentially the same movie.
Having plumbed the nostalgia well pretty deeply in the first one, there’s not much left for the sequel on that score. Most of the gags are, as noted, self-satire, but this is supported by some solid physical comedy as well. Ice Cube [IMDB], also reprising his role as the captain, is given significantly more screen time and centerpieces several of the funniest moments.
Not every gag lands, but there are so many that you’ll likely not notice. There are crazy moments, but they’re well-anchored by several solid running gags. If you can forgive, or even revel in, the wink-and-nod mentality this is one hell of a fun ride.